Hope Solo is one of the most accomplished American soccer players ever. She also genuinely cares about the growth of the sport in the United States. A natural conclusion to draw from those two facts would be that Solo, two years removed from her playing days, would wholeheartedly support the U.S.-led bid to bring the 2026 World Cup to North America.
Ah, but that conclusion would ignore a third fact: Hope Solo despises the United States Soccer Federation.
So, understandably, she doesn’t want the United States Soccer Federation to have nice things. And the 2026 World Cup, whose hosting rights will be awarded by a June 13 FIFA vote, falls into the “nice things” category.
Solo is openly rooting against the United Bid.
Solo: U.S. not ‘deserving’
She revealed her stance in multiple interviews this week.
“I can’t say it should be awarded to Morocco,” the North American bid’s only rival, Solo told the Associated Press. “But I don’t think it should go to the United States, and that’s hard to say.”
And to CNN: “I think it should be awarded to a country which abides by federal law, who is transparent, who runs their non-profit organizations in the way it should be run, who aren’t hiding millions of dollars, and a company who actually answers these questions that want to be answered,” Solo said, referencing U.S. Soccer. “They just ignore everybody.”
“I do have a problem with an organization like that being awarded something so big,” Solo continued. “I would like to think there’s another country out there who is more deserving than the United States.”
Well, is there somebody ‘more deserving’?
Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your perspective, there is not. FIFA’s bid evaluation team recently wrapped up its inspections, and concluded that the three North American nations, which plan to stage 60 of 80 games in the U.S., are far more equipped to host the 2026 World Cup:
The United Bid’s main advantage is infrastructure. Of the 23 stadiums it proposed, 17 would be ready to host a World Cup match next month, with “no major renovation required.” Six would need renovation.
Of the 14 stadiums Morocco has included in its bid, on the other hand, only five exist – and all would need major renovations. Nine are merely hypothetical. They don’t currently exist, but are instead essentially promises that construction will begin if Morocco wins the bid.
“The amount of new infrastructure required for the Morocco 2026 bid to become reality cannot be overstated,” the inspectors wrote in their report.
That’s why stadiums, accommodation, and accommodation and transport were the three areas in which the Moroccan bid was branded “high risk”:
But the bid won’t be awarded on merit. The vote is in the hands of 207 voters, one from each of FIFA’s member nations.
And that’s not the kind of merit Solo is talking about anyway.
Solo’s clashes with U.S. soccer
Solo acknowledged that she would like to see a men’s World Cup in the United States.
“I think any time you host a World Cup, you’re going to have new generations of soccer fans, and that’s important,” Solo told CNN. “It’s important for so many different reasons. I want to go myself to the World Cup in America.”
But, again, she hates U.S. Soccer. She antagonized the federation time and time again during her surprising and ultimately unsuccessful campaign for its presidency. She had already effectively been exiled when her U.S. women’s national team contract was terminated in 2016. And a bitter USWNT labor dispute with U.S. Soccer, of which Solo was at the forefront, certainly didn’t mend any relationships.
In her interviews, Solo brought up that labor dispute, and the push for equal pay, and a complaint against USSF which she filed with the U.S. Olympic Committee earlier this year. She levied several other accusations and criticisms that echoed those of her USSF presidential campaign.
She wants U.S. Soccer to change its ways. So her point, essentially, is what she explicated to the AP: “Hopefully FIFA can stand up and step in and say, ‘If we’re going to reward you, let’s look at everything and point out where you can fix certain things.'”
Wait, wasn’t Solo in the news recently for another reason?
Yep. Four-year-old assault charges against Solo were finally dropped after a strange, drawn-out legal process that had previously been the subject of controversy. But news of the dropped charges received very little coverage. So Solo lashed out at the media:
“Media have run 1,000s of stories about me, helping spread false allegations that have been extremely damaging to me, my family and my career,” she said. “Last week, the case was dismissed, yet most of those reporters have remained silent. Why?”
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